[hear the deal from the esteemed John Strausbaugh]


Be More Chill UK





Cult teen writer acquired by HarperCollins



HarperCollins Childrens Books have acquired UK rights to Be More Chill, a first novel from American author, Ned Vizzini for a five figure sum. It will be published in July 2004.


Be More Chill is both a classic teenage morality story and a hyper-hip, up to the minute novel. The hero, Jeremy, is a particular brand of dork smart and savvy, but lacking that must-have quality: Cool. When he gets his hands on and swallows an underground digital gadget called The Squip, he has swallowed the ultimate life saver a cool coach in the form of an inner voice telling him what to say, how to get a hot date and who to ditch.


Ned looks set to become the teen sensation that everyone will be clamouring for a Melvyn Burgess meets American Pie.

Im not gonna lie, Vizzini says. I have so many regrets about not getting with enough girls in high school that I wrote a whole book about it. I wish Id had a pill that made me cool. I live vicariously through dorks.


The books humour has caught the evil eye of Hollywood. A high-profile team of producers and a screenwriter with a critically-acclaimed movie of British origins to his credit have joined forces to develop Be More Chill into a film. In it, they see the potential for a teen touchstone on the level of American Pie or St. Elmos Fire. The production team will be pitching the movie to studios in September.


Stella Paskins, Senior Editor at HarperCollins Childrens Books said, Ned Vizzini is a star in the making - no doubt about it. The fact that he is only a few years older than his hero (and therefore his readers) gives his voice real credibility, and you can't help feeling that some of the exploits featured in the book must be based on experience. The wry wit and razor-sharp observation is all there - and yet there's a warmth and innocence which shines through, making Jeremy a really loveable character, despite his eyebrow-raising exploits.


Neds UK agent, Eugenie Furniss commented, I'm delighted HarperCollins will be publishing Ned. I think his writing is fantastically quirky and original and that British readers will love him.


Brooklyn-based Ned Vizzini began writing for The New York Press at 15. He is now 22 and still contributes, having also written for Newsday and the New York Times Magazine. His first book Teen Angst? Naaah was published by Free Spirit Publishing in 2000, when he was 19, and was picked up by Random House US for mass-market distribution in 2002. He has been described as a Holden Caulfield for Generation Y, which is a little worrying as he has never read Catcher in the Rye.


For further information, please contact Jo Williamson on 020 8307 4680 or email jo.Williamson@harpercollins.co.uk